Category Archives: connect

Potential sticking points to unified communications

Unified communications has turned the workplace on its head, making home sweet home the new office place. Workers are kissing traffic jams good-bye, and the "daily grind," if you can even call it that, is measured in feet, not miles. To what extent? Well, In 2015, roughly 25 percent of employees worked from home on any given day, based on the latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And over the past decade, telecommuting has risen a whopping 115 percent, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Unified communications has brought convenience back to the modern workplace. It streamlines the interaction process so individuals near and far can talk work through a single server, whether via the cloud, IP telephony or the numerous other channels that fall under the UC umbrella.

Afraid of the cloud? Don't be

Here's the sticking point, though: Businesses aren't exactly flocking to the cloud in droves. In fact, while 70 percent of business owners have at least considered using one communication provider rather than several, according to statistics compiled by Inc., only 19 percent have actually pulled the trigger, this according to computer security services firm Bird Rock Systems.

Why the slow transition? For one, change is always hard, especially for those who prefer face-to-face interaction. Cybersecurity is never far from business owners' minds, either, and unfamiliarity with the cloud can bring those thoughts to the fore. 

Just remember that being unacquainted with cloud computing security shouldn't suggest that it lacks in protection. In fact, According to Clutch, 90 percent of companies who use the cloud for data storage find it to be as good or better than an on-site servers at protecting their information!

New technology doesn't always cause headaches 

Because UC systems makes their bones by facilitating multiple communications systems, your mind may associate UC with technical problems. That's why selecting the right partner is so critical – wink, wink. But really, great customer service and a best-in-class network can go a long way.

Plus, companies are already planning ahead for these types of adjustments, as 21 percent of CIOs say they'll add full-time tech professionals to their staff this year, according to a poll from Robert Half. Why? Twenty-four percent said it had to do with cloud migration or big data.

From efficiency to productivity, increased engagement to cost containment, the return on investment makes unified communications the business solution that simply gets the job done – both inside and outside the office.

4 tips for planning holiday office parties

The company holiday party isn't just a chance to decorate the office and eat one too many cookies; it's an important opportunity to recognize employees for the hard work they've done all year.

As you head into the fourth quarter, it's a smart idea to start planning your office's holiday party. The earlier you begin hammering out the details, the better, as a little prep work nows saves headaches later and helps ensure the festivities are a hit. 

Here are four tips for planning your holiday office party:

1. Pick a fun theme 

Giving the holiday party a creative theme keeps the atmosphere from being too stuffy and, as online invitations company Punchbowl noted, provides a focus for the event that can simplify planning. An ugly sweater party is a classic theme, but there are lots of other fun ideas you could try, such as:

  • North Pole: Transform the space into a winter wonderland complete with Santa's workshop. 
  • Holidays in Paradise: Decorate with a tropical island theme. 
  • Roaring 20s: Have a classy, old-fashioned holiday celebration with 1920s-inspired decor and music. 

2. Choose a convenient time

Schedule the holiday party for a convenient time to boost attendance rates; the Friday right before many employees head off for holiday travel may not be the best day for the party. 

Some companies hold their holiday parties in the evening, after a workday or on the weekend. However, the event doesn't have to be after hours; luncheons are a popular alternative, according to HR consulting firm ERC. They can be held during the workweek, making them likely more convenient for a greater number of employees, and these gatherings can be less expensive than evening parties, offering a great option for smaller budgets. 

3. Consider your booze policy 

Give some thought to whether you'll serve alcohol at your party. If you do, it's important to follow safe practices. The Balance has a helpful list of tips for serving alcohol at company events; it includes serving solely beer and wine instead of liquor and limiting the number of hours the bar is open. Only professional bartenders should serve alcohol, too, never employees. 

4. Include remote workers 

Remote workers shouldn't be left out of the festivities! With the simple-to-use video conferencing solutions available today, companies can get creative with including their remote staff in the party. As The Atlantic explained in an article on the increasing popularity of remote-work holiday parties, telecommuting staff can call into in-office parties via video conference. 

With these tips, you can throw a fun and successful holiday party at your company this year. 

CloudTalk: Data Deadlines and Marketing Automation

Within ReadyTalk’s Customer Care department are the specialists that work with our marketing and CRM automations. Clayton Hagen answers every phone call with his technical sensibilities, along with a touch of Michigander. Learn how Clay keeps our customers’ attendance data in check, plus stories on the best Halloween costumes this side of Spencer’s Gifts.   

When working with CRM and marketing automation, what’s the most common integrations obstacle?

First we need to drill down the customer’s initial concerns. If there’s an issue that’s preventing our software from communicating with their marketing program — like Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Hubspot, and Salesforce — it’s important that we address the snag immediately. One obstacle that comes up involves their event communication. The invitation and reminder emails used to promote the webinar or webcast are integrated with their marketing program. If there’s some block that’s not properly tracking or delivering data it’s our job to isolate the problem. This can happen days before an event or even while one is taking place. We realize the urgency and importance of everything running smoothly, so we’re under the gun to help our customers fast.

Realizing you may be slightly biased, why do you think ReadyTalk’s customer care outperforms our competitors’?

I think our team genuinely cares about our customers. We put in a lot of effort to streamline the process for them. At times we’ve been known to go out of our way to make sure they have what they need. That means communicating with other members of my department — or even reaching out to other departments if I’m not an expert in a particular area. A lot of people in customer care know what it’s like hosting a webinar. It can be scary, high pressure, with lots of time invested. We put ourselves in their shoes because it’s what we’re here for.

In five seconds, tell me how integrations work.

No. Here’s a Marketo chart.

 

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at ReadyTalk?

Always Halloween. When each department dresses up for the costume contest. It’s hilarious because each department has a theme. A baby giraffe costume stands out. It was a traumatic sight for the entire company.

CloudTalk: Tech Culture and Product Evolution

 

Heard from down the hall and around the corner is the undisputed best laugh at ReadyTalk. Samantha Morgan is our Senior Product Manager with four years contributing to the ReadyTalk roadmap. Sam’s zest for tech and cultural charisma is what helps make ReadyTalk great. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you — Sam is the personification of our ReadyTalk brand. Read about her day-to-day balancing act of backend geekery and front-end friendliness.

 

Q: What motivates you the most?

A: I love that each day there are new and different challenges that we need to resolve. Most of these solutions directly benefit our customers. I can tell you about the hardest project that I worked on and how it ended up having the biggest benefit. Upgrading our participant interface from Flash to an HTML5 client was no easy task. So think about it this way — it was a change that impacted our customers’ customers, partners, and teammates. In our industry there’s constant demand for change and improvement because technology is always evolving. HTML5 added new layers of backend security protection and front-end quality for users.         

Q: What made the HTML5 change so difficult for you and our engineering team?

A: In short, it’s new technology. It’s an introduction of new services that supports our critical lines of business. We work with buyers that use ReadyTalk for a variety of reasons — work collaboration, huge webinar presentations, different audio types, etc. When there’s a large volume of people hosting and joining events on a new client it’s critical that we minimize disruption of their services. This means mitigating browser limitations for all customers and their most important people.

 

Q: Why are you so invested in ReadyTalk’s culture?

A: Because I believe that we work in a place where people are empowered to make decisions and influence the progression of our company. It comes down to loving where you work. I appreciate that we are highly accountable for our own actions. We care about our mission, purpose, and each other. And most of all we care about how our work serves our customers. “Our most important people” is an expression I like using as it relates to business and service. So when we find new people to come and work for ReadyTalk we try very hard to match those goals and expectations.    

 

Q: Describe ReadyTalk in one word?

A: Dynamic

We Are Family: ReadyTalk, a PGi Company

ReadyTalk, a PGi companyIn January 2017, PGi entered into an agreement to purchase ReadyTalk.

PGi

PGi is a company we’ve been watching for a long time. Its employees are dedicated to providing the best communication and collaboration experiences to customers around the globe. And they have the same values we do — a desire to excel in customer service, deliver great products and innovate.

ReadyTalk, a PGi Company

That’s why we’re pleased to announce that we’ve closed the deal as of February 2. From this point forward we’ll be ReadyTalk, a PGi Company. Our combined portfolio will enable PGi to continue providing the very best collaboration products and services.

We believe our customers benefit, too. They get the advantage of a big company with an expanded portfolio helping people all over the world. They’ll continue to enjoy fantastic customer service. And they’ll continue to get innovation.

Powerhouses Joining Forces

It’s a union of two communications powerhouses joining forces.

As evidence, within the past week, PGi and ReadyTalk were listed in the G2 Crowd Report detailing the Best Web Conferencing Products of 2017. G2 Crowd is the world’s leading business software review platform, and PGi is proud to be included, along with ReadyTalk, on this list of industry-leading conference providers.

We’re thrilled to be part of the family and combine our portfolios to provide the best collaboration experiences to enterprises everywhere.